What is Zoom-Bombing
Zoom bombing is real and new. Many younger juveniles may consider it a prank. It can have serious legal and criminal consequences. Zoom bombing is a rather new phenomenon and an interesting problem for criminal defense attorneys. In today’s new world, during the Covid-19 pandemic and with schools and workplaces utilizing more technology than ever, a prank on the SaaS Zoom platform can land you in real hot water with authorities. And unfortunately, a Zoom-Bomb prank can have life-long legal ramifications. In the last two weeks there have been at least two Zoom-Bombing incidents in local Gwinnett County Schools:
Zoom-Bombing is essentially where someone hacks or otherwise enters unlawfully into a Zoom meeting and does something inappropriate. Often the inappropriate behavior is sexual in nature. Many kids and juveniles see this as old school gag, trick or practical joke. For instance, sending a picture of a girl’s bosom or a boys penis, who happen to be under 16 years old, would be considered distribution of child-pornography. You could face up to 20 years in prison and registration for life as a sex offender. In Atalanta, and indeed throughout Georgia, this crime would be prosecuted under the sexual exploitation of children statute. The statute provides that it is illegal to knowingly possess or control any material that depicts a minor or any portion of a minor’s body engaged in any sexually explicit conduct. Juveniles in Georgia are considered adults at 17 years of age as well. So children in high school are often labeled adults for these serious criminal charges.
Zoom-Bombing Examples in Georgia and the Law
Here is another example of an incident in another state during a high school Zoom meeting:
In McIntosh County, Georgia on April 16 a County Board meeting was bombarded with a Zoom-Bomb full of pornographic material.
The FBI has put Zoom-Bombers on warning in other incidents:
Zoom-Bombing is Illegal in Georgia in State and Federal Court
Possible State and Federal Crimes Associated with Zoom-Bombing
An adult of juvenile may be charged with various offenses such as:
- disrupting a public meeting
- computer intrusion
- using a computer to commit a crime
- hate crimes
- transmitting threatening communications
- child pornography
- juvenile delinquency
These are just some of the possible Federal and State crimes you may be subject too. All of these charges are punishable by fines, imprisonment and a criminal record. They may be either felonies or misdemeanors. I am not aware of any Zoom-Bomb prosecutions as of yet, but it’s only a matter of time in Georgia by either the DOJ ( Department of Justive) or the local county prosecutors here in the Atlanta area.
Unfortunately, I see young kids and juveniles paying the price for “stupid pranks,” here in Atlanta. Georgia has a horrific history of juvenile justice and has passed some of the harshest juvenile laws in America. Here is a story from the AJC (Atlanta Journal Constitution) detailing that history:
As a result, I expect to see charges to be brought against juveniles in need of supervision for Zoom-Bombing in the near future. A juvenile delinquency adjudication is essentially the same as being convicted as a adult for a crime. So a child under the age of 17 may be considered delinquent for various crimes under Georgia Law.
Zoom-Bombing Incidents Are Increasing
Zoom-Bomb incidents are literally happening everyday in today’s new normal of video meetings during school and during work from home adjustments. Don’t let Zoom-Bombing happen to you! Below is an interesting article from Forbes on Zoom-Bombing and how to prevent it. It is imperative that schools educate kids on the serious nature of Zoom-Bombing and possible consequences. It’s is also imperative that schools and organizations take proactive steps to protect themselves against hacking and unwanted intrusion into their video chats.
Hire an Experienced Criminal Lawyer
Thank you so much for doing such a great job for our daughter. We are very happy with the results of her case. Best wishes, R.W.
P.S. Thank you also for helping our friend get his case dismissed!”
If you are in need of experienced criminal defense representation in Atlanta or throughout Georgia for Zoom-Bombing or any other alleged crime, please contact me today for a Free Consultation. I have practiced criminal defense law in the Atlanta area for 20 years and handled thousands of cases successfully.
Thomas C. Nagel, Attorney at Law
Atlanta, GA 30328